The Today Show and CNN frequently cite tweets when it comes to gauging public sentiment about current events like an election or natural disaster, and Facebook hopes to change that. The company today announced two tools that will give TV networks and news sites access to its data, so they can measure the amount of statuses mentioning Kim Kardashian, or find out if women, for example, are more interested in a specific news story than men. The two tools, called the "Public Feed API" and "Keyword Insights API," are being granted first to CNN, NBC, Sky TV, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, Slate, and social media analytics firm Mass Relevance.

See a real-time firehose of public posts mentioning a specific word

Specifically, the Public Feed API lets you see a real-time firehose of public posts mentioning a specific word. The Keyword Insights API, on the other hand, aggregates all the public posts mentioning a specific word and spits out anonymous stats about the age, location, and gender of the users posting updates. The tools are designed to help news networks capitalize on responses to current events, but also to understand audience metrics and engagement for their own primetime programming. Facebook claims that between 88 and 100 million Americans log onto the site between the hours of 8 PM and 11 PM. "Over nine million people talked about the VMAs on Facebook," says Justin Osofsky, VP of media partnerships at Facebook. "We wanted to give our broadcast partners a better picture of what's going on."

In late August, Facebook rolled out embedded posts, which let news sites (and eventually users) embed public statuses on their websites. The company hopes that in combination, these two puzzle pieces will help Facebook posts reach farther and wider than they ever have before. Twitter is at an advantage for now, thanks to its newswire-esque format and userbase that tends to post instantly and publicly when news breaks — but with better tools and analytics, Facebook posts could become even more compelling.